Writing with Open Access
Latest progress: write your way to new ideas with the help of the Smithsonian’s vast collection.
Last year, the Smithsonian developed Open Access, a dataset with over three million objects from their collections for public use on the internet. Using today’s technology we can bring these objects to you in surprising ways.
The proposal I made back in April is to use writing as the interface that connects museum collections to you. Today I am thrilled to share this idea in a tangible, usable form for you to try. When you head to the site you will be presented with a text area on the left side of the screen. After you write, the application finds nouns and verbs, then uses those words to query Smithsonian’s database. An image shows up on the right side of the screen for each word matched. You can select an image to learn more about it and you can click on any of your words to highlight the image that matches. If you are unsure what to write, there are writing prompts and a few examples texts you can explore. It is still rough around the edges, but it works on your phone and computer. Lastly, it works in ten different languages!
While this is available to you now, it is not public yet. So, I kindly ask that you do not share this. There will be an opening event to see all the prototypes made during Cooper Hewitt’s Activating Smithsonian’s Open Access grant program on July 20, 2021. If that sounds of interest to you, I would be happy to send a formal invite. Just reply to this email.
Wishing you a cool summer,